Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher of the Month - June
It's always good when there are several starting pitchers deserving of recognition. It's even better when several of the names you will see below are names seen in previous months because that means they're putting together a long stretch of quality starting performances.
With that, I'm going to post a couple of honorable mentions before getting to the Top 5.
- Trevor May - Rochester - 4 GS, 24.2 IP, 20 H, 9 BB, 27 K. 3-1, 3.65 ERA., 1.18 WHIP, .220 OBA.
- Pat Dean - New Britain - 6 GS, 36.2 IP, 43 H, 6 BB, 18 K, 4-1, 2.95 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, .289 OBA.
- Tim Shibuya - Ft. Myers - 4 G, 3 GS, 20.0 IP, 12 H, 0 BB, 10 K, 2-0, 0.45 ERA, 0.60 WHIP, .167 OBA
Let's get to the Top 5:
#5 - Kohl Stewart - Cedar Rapids - 5 GS, 25.0 IP, 23 H, 8 BB, 15 K, 0-2, 2.16 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, .258 OBA.
The Twins top pick in 2013 has had a very good season, and that has continued into June. He was named to the MWL All-Star team, though he didn't pitch in the game. He is on a pitch count, so he hasn't made it into the sixth inning too often. Many are worried about his lack of strikeouts, but when I talked to people in Cedar Rapids, no one was concerned. The general comment is that no one is hitting him well, and he's getting a lot of weak ground balls and pop-ups. Not bad considering he's 19 years old in a league where there are players three to five years older than him.
#4 - Taylor Rogers - New Britain - 6 GS, 43.1 IP, 40 H, 10 BB, 26 K, 2-2, 3.12 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, .253 OBA.
Rogers struggled in his first three starts this season and has been terrific since. He is doing the things that made him my choice for Pitcher of the Year last year. He's working quickly. He's efficient. He throws strikes. He's able to work deep into games. Reports last year had it that he was sitting 91-92 throughout the game and touching 94 at times. He's also got a very good slider. As you can see, he averaged more than seven innings in June.
#3 - Matt Tomshaw - Ft. Myers - 6 G, 5 GS, 33.2 IP, 38 H, 5 BB, 24 K, 2-0, 2.94 ERA, 1 Save, 1.28 WHIP, .286 OBA.
Tomshaw was the winner of this award in May when he put up silly numbers. He continued to be very good in June. He made five starts and one relief appearance. In that game, he worked the final four innings to record the save, and more important, clinch the first half title for the Miracle. The lefty has always been aggressive and worked quickly, but he's now hitting 91 on the radar. His utilization of The Thing has really helped him have a pitch that hitters (and maybe his catchers?) don't know what it will do.
#2 - Jason Wheeler - Ft. Myers/New Britain - 6 GS, 38.1 IP, 29 H, 11 BB, 37 K, 4-2, 2.35 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, .206 OBA.
Wheeler repeated the first half of the season in Ft. Myers, but after three June starts for the Miracle, he was promoted to New Britain. He has actually been even better in his three starts with the Rock Cats. The left-hander, whose brother has had a couple of big home runs this month for the Colorado Rockies, has increased his velocity. He now sits 89-91 and can occasionally reach 93. He's got good control of his secondary pitches as well.
Some pretty solid performances, to be sure, but this month's Minnesota Twins Minor League Starting Pitcher choice was actually quite easy to pick.
#1 - JO Berrios - Ft. Myers - 6 GS, 41.0 IP, 24 H, 5 BB, 53 K, 4-1, 1.54 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, .168 OBA
Yesterday, Berrios was named the Florida State League Pitcher of the Month. He was remarkable. At just 20 years old, Berrios shows such poise on the mound. He has terrific control and stuff that gets a lot of swings and misses. He's been able to get strikeouts while still being efficient enough to get into the 7th inning in most of his starts. If you want, you could even add one inning and two strikeouts to his above totals because he was the starting pitcher in the league All-Star game. His fastball continues to sit between 93 and 96 and touches 97. His breaking pitches are very sharp and he has a very good changeup. Berrios was Twins Daily's #6 prospect heading into the season, and he has without doubt firmly placed himself in the top five at this point.
Feel free to comment on JO Berrios and the other starting pitchers highlighted this month.